Louise  Warren – Poète et essayiste

Louise Warren, poet and essayist

LOUISE WARREN, born in Montréal (Québec, Canada), lives and works in Lanaudière region. Since 1984, she has published more than thirty-five books. Her last poetry book is Le plus petit espace (Noroît, 2017).

Louise Warren has published many essays on the experience of creation and artwork. Amongst them, the Archives trilogy: Bleu de Delft. Archives de solitude, Objets du monde. Archives du vivant and La forme et le deuil. Archives du lac. The last was nominated for the Governer General 2008 Prize in the Essays and studies category.

Louise Warren had been invited to many international events and poetry festivals in Europe, South America, New Zealand and Japan, and received many awards. In 2015, she obtained a two-month writing residency in Lisbon, Portugal.

The first two books of the Archives series, translated into English by Karen McPherson, published by Guernica Editions, are available under the title Delft Blue & Objects of the World: Archives I and II, in the « Essential Translations » collection.

Under the title Vivaces. Atelier mobile de lecture et d’écriture, 99 poetic cards were published in 2022.

To view lists of books, awards and events, click on « Accueil », « Publications » and « À l’agenda». Each title generates a webpage, including an extract of the book and quotations from critics.

Delft Blue & Objects of the World: Archives I and II, part of the « Essential Translations » collection, Guernica Editions, Toronto, translated from the French by Karen McPherson, 2013.

[On La forme et le deuil. Archives du lac, Montréal, l’Hexagone, 2008]

That Warren could describe so exactly the activity of reading in which I was at that very moment engaged confirmed my sense of her living presence within the book that I held in my hand. And I was ready – eager – to accompany her wherever she might invite me to follow. In actual fact, she had already opened her studio door to me and I had already crossed that threshold in the book’s opening pages, where she reflected on the passage from mourning to form. […]

The first two essays in Warren’s book together serve to introduce the work. In the first, untitled, she expresses the desire and intention to investigate the relationships between deuil and forme and establishes this investigation as one most meaningfully done in company; in the second, « Le fauteuil de lecture, » she situates the practice of reading in relation to her personal history, a history marked in this piece by a legacy of literary preoccupations and a specific loss (the death of her aunt Marraine). These are Warren’s starting points – a loss, an understandong that creativity responds to such loss, and a particular appreciation for the materiality of the book and the act of reading. […]

But what is this book? Like the two previous volumes in Warren’s Archives trilogy (Bleu de Delft: Archives de solitude [2001] and Objets du monde : Archives du vivant [2005]), La forme et le deuil is marketed under the rubric « essai. » But what is perhaps most engaging about this book is how it resists generic categories, nudging at the borders between prose and poetry, between critical essay and memoir, between lyrics and narrative, between exposition and commentary. Warren’s essays remind the reader of the work of celebrated essayists such as Montaigne and Woolf. […]

Indeed, Warren’s writing on art is remarkable. She has an incomparable gift for seeing and then stepping back just far enough to let the reader see what she sees. But this book does not read like a compendium of discrete essays culled from earlier publications; the texts are transformed by their inclusion and placement within this volume. As Warren describes the films she has seen, the books she has read, the art exhibits she has visited, the people and places she has encountered, she is inscribing her own delicate ventures into the materiality of language and into the shared spaces of memory, feeling and thought. […]

Toward the end of the final essay, Warren writes: « Je cuisine des potages pour une amie malade. J’écris dans le même esprit, nourrir le vivant« . This is a deeply honest book, personal but not private, a book of generosity and connection, a book that accompanies and nourishes life and the living.

Karen McPHERSON, American Review of Canadian Studies (2009)

[On Une pierre sur une pierre, Montréal, l’Hexagone, 2006]

One of Québec’s most delicate and subtle poets, Louise Warren gives us here a collection of mental flashes and images, coherent yet at times contextually elliptical, for floating, often amenable at once to a grounding in the quotidian and a reading in the light of the most open of absolutes. […] Une pierre sur une pierre, a title that, moreover, suggests a slow, steady building of the meaning of one’s being, rather than any sense of a scatteredness or a despairing chaos.

‘Livre en constante mutation’, writes Louise Warren, without a fixed centre, without even any definitive orientation, other than that multiple trace or ‘archive’, as she likes to think of a good deal of her recent writing, of an ontos lived at the heart of its ephemeral and yet persistent strangenesses watched over and hatched out by she who inhabits ‘l’élan qui m’habite’. If this élan, this poiein, this surging forth of self’s inscribed being, generates something resembling a proof, half-flagrant, half-obscure, a mode of ontological presence that is equally ‘un vol de cendres’ or what she may deem a vestige of ‘l’envers des arbres’, it is not far from that same poietic energy at the dynamic and equally tensional heart of another of Louise Warren’s books, her today reprinted Bleu de Delft, in which we see once more all the fine-bonedness, all the serene-despite-all, ever firmly questing vigour of a perception and an expression that explain why the work of a great artist such as Alexandre Hollan can hold her attention: a telluric anchoring and the intuition of a sacredness in the bosom of the ‘simple’, as Yves Bonnefoy might say, the search for a ‘goldenness’ – perhaps unattainable, the mere mirror of one’s high desire – , but ‘dans le parfum de l’hiver’, immanent to the core ( – though the ‘core’ of the finite remains clouded in dreams of some half-sensed ‘azure’).

Louise Warren’s essay to accompany the exhibition of Hollan’s work (Alexandre Hollan. Un seul arbre) at the Musée d’art de Joliette […] testifies to what some might consider to be a deep ambivalence Warren lives and breathes as to the nature of being, an ambivalence that Une pierre sur une pierre may seem to convey in like measure. But it is perhaps less of a rational refusal of presence’s deep and swirlingly mysterious alterity, than a determination to live ‘cette ligne d’énergie à émettre’, hic et nunc, in the fragile and exquisite and endlessly contrasted oneness of a being that, stone upon stone, unsayableness upon unsayableness, the poem, a collection of poems, curiously manages to assemble in its provisional (non-)lieu.

Michael BISHOP, Dalhousie University. The French Review, Montana State University, (2006)


Delft Blue & Objects of the World: Archives I and II (traduction de Karen McPherson), Toronto, Guernica,  » Essential Translations « , 2013.

« We, unquiet words » (traduction de Karen McPherson), dans Saranac Review, State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, NY, nº 7, 2011, p. 46-49.

« Observations » (traduction de Karen McPherson), dans Zoland Poetry : An Annual of Poems, Translations and Interviews, Zoland Books, Hanover, New Hampshire, nº 5, 2011, p. 8-10.

« Wonderment » et « Evening Waters » (traductions de Elaine Lewis) dans Etchings, Ilura Press, Melbourne, Australie, nº 6, 2009, p. 172-181.

« Three poems from Soleil comme un oracle » (traduction de Amy Bound Merriam), dans Saranac Review, State University of New York College at Plattsburgh, nº 3, 2008, p. 45-47.

« Baths of Gold and Tea » (traduction de Susan Wicks), « Wait for me. Bathed With Gold and Tea » (traduction de Jan Owen), « Baths of Gold and Tea » (traduction de Elaine Lewis) et « Bagni d’oro e di té » (traduction italienne de Daniele Pieroni), dans La Traductière, nº 23, Paris, 2005.

« Evening Waters » et « Baths of Gold and Tea » (traductions de Elaine Lewis) dans The 2nd Wellington International Poetry Festival Anthology, Wellington, HeadworX, 2004.

Extraits de Wonderment (traduction de Elaine Lewis) dans Portulan (France), octobre 2004, et dans l’anthologie Poetry in Performance 32, composée par Barry Wallenstein, New York, automne 2004.

« Evening Waters » (traduction de Elaine Lewis) dans La Traductière, nº 22, Paris, 2004.

Extraits de La lumière, l’arbre, le trait et de Suite pour une robe (traduction anglaise et espagnole) dans Prometeo. Revista Latino americana de Poesia (Medellin, Colombie), nº 62-63, juin 2002, p. 211-215.

Extraits de Madeleine de janvier à septembre (traduction de George Lang) dans Ellipse, nº 39 (« La nouvelle poésie amoureuse »), 1988.

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Conception et réalisation par Annie Piché